Monday, 29 December 2014

Manifesting the Characters.

I saw a perfect Lolita standing outside a shop today. She was exactly as Nabokov brilliantly described her – same age, same height, same build, same hair, and that precocious look in the eyes which I’m not as well equipped as Vladimir to describe. It took me straight back into the novel, and especially the growing, grinding sense that all the major characters are victims of one sort or another. I read somewhere that Nabokov suffered a few bereavements in which family members were killed accidentally while young. It’s said that he had a lifelong fixation with victims.

Oddly, back in the day when I was reading the His Dark Materials trilogy, I was taking daily bus rides. Most days an image of Lyra would get on, sit down, and then stare at me, frowning intensely. I could see it out of the corner of my eye, I could feel it even, and it took some effort of will not to stare back. I permitted myself the odd glance to make sure I wasn’t mistaken, which I wasn’t. I never spoke to her so I’ve no idea what was going through her head. Memories of my place in a parallel universe, perhaps.

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